The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editorials

November 6, 2013

Our View: Get serious on financial crimes

Why it matters: The threat of jail time should get white collar criminals and their enablers to think twice

(Continued)

Even that appears to be changing. The SEC filed a separate civil case against SAC that says Cohen looked the other way on misconduct of those who worked with him and is seeking to bar Cohen from ever being allowed to manage money that is not his own, according to the Times report.

Experts told the Times the criminal prosecutions like that of SAC are rare and suggest the Justice Department is no longer worried about economic consequences that occurred when Enron’s accounting firm Arthur Anderson was indicted and eventually shutdown, causing 28,000 jobs to be lost.

Prosecutor Bharara is also reportedly considering criminal charges against JPMorgan Chase for possible involvement in the Bernard Madoff fraud case. The SEC apparently now is also pushing for violators of securities laws to admit wrongdoing, changing a past practice of allowing corporations to play dumb, according to the Times report.

Bharara also seems to be leading the charge, all for the good. In a September talk, he seemed to suggest corporate responsibility was as important as personal responsibility. “I think we should be entering a serious era of institutional accountability, not just personal responsibility.”

The SAC case represented a more serious approach to financial crime fighting when it began nearly a decade ago. Prosecutors and investigators began using techniques like wire-tapping and pressuring others to be informants, according to the Times report. Those tactics were typically used in drug or organized crime cases.

Now, it’s all too clear, financial crimes are organized and carry as much damage as drug, environmental and anti-trust cases.

It’s high time we got serious about these crimes again. Congress should support these efforts and make sure prosecutors have all the tools to make sure no one believes they are too big to jail.

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